Officials in Lakewood Township and St. Louis County announced a new public-private partnership with cable MSO Mediacom Communications that will result in the construction of a 60-mile fiber-optic network offering ultra-high-speed fiber broadband services to homes and businesses throughout Lakewood Township, nearby Duluth, Minnesota.
The planned fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) project will make broadband internet service with symmetrical, gigabit speeds available to over 1,200 existing homes and businesses throughout the township. The total project will cost approximately $3.7 million.
“For Lakewood Township residents and businesses this is a monumental opportunity. Access to reliable and economically feasible broadband for Lakewood Township residents and businesses has become a necessity for access to education, employment, health care and livelihood” said Lakewood Township board supervisor and board chair Diane Holliday-Welsh.
Construction of the 60-mile fiber-optic network will start this month and is expected to take two years. Most of the network will be placed underground.
“In Lakewood Township it is estimated that 95% of our township is unserved or underserved. This opportunity with St. Louis County and partnership with Mediacom significantly reduces the Lakewood gap. On behalf of Lakewood Township, we applaud the intentional focus of the St. Louis County Planning Department, County Board, Commissioner Keith Musolf (rep. Lakewood) and each commissioner on resolving the underserved and unserved broadband issue across the county,” added Holliday-Welsh.
According to a press release, St. Louis County is allocating $345,000 through broadband grant dollars towards the project and Lakewood Township is providing an additional $50,000 of its ARPA dollars. Mediacom is supplying the remaining $3.3 million with its own private capital.
“Mediacom is working on multiple fronts to close the digital divide, and we’re proud to make this investment to benefit residents in Lakewood Township,” said Mediacom area operations director, Jason Janesich. “Local leaders in the township and St. Louis County have prioritized the need for all residents to have access to reliable and affordable broadband, and their commitment to a public-private partnership will meet that need with an extensive, fiber-to-the-premises network offering gigabit-speed broadband.”